1270.0.55.007 - Australian Population Grid, 2011  
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AUSTRALIAN POPULATION GRID 2011

Please Note: This publication can be viewed in three formats:

  • ESRI Grid format -for use in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) only.
  • GeoTIFF format - for use in a Geographic Information System (GIS) and in some graphics software.
  • PNG format - for use in any graphics software including those bundled with major operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X & iOS).

This release presents the first time population data has been published in 1kmē grid format by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The grid displays Usual Resident Population (URP) from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing using 1kmē grid cells across Australia. The 1kmē resolution of the grid therefore offers a measure of population density for Australia. The data has been modelled from perturbed Mesh Block level URP values.

The grid offers a consistently sized spatial unit and gives a refined model of population distribution, particularly for the non-urban areas of Australia. Another spatial unit, known as Mesh Block, was previously the most detailed geographic unit available. Figure 1 is a population density map using Mesh Blocks. Figure 2 is a population density map using the the 1 kmē grid.


Figure 1. Mesh Block Population Density August 2011

Figure 1, A map of Australia showing the population density of Mesh Blocks in five density ranges



Figure 2. Population Density 1kmē Grid August 2011

Figure 2, A map of Australia showing the population density in grid cells of 1 square kilometre. Map has same density ranges as Figure 1.


Australia's most densely populated residential area in 2011 based on the grid was in Sydney around the suburbs of Potts Point and Woolloomooloo. The 1 kmē grid cell covering these suburbs had a usual resident population of 14,747 in 2011.

The consistent sized cells of the grid format lend themselves to comparison of regions. Figure 3 compares the population grid for Sydney and Melbourne. It shows that Sydney had more areas in the highest density range shown in the map with 21kmē exceeding 8,000 people per square kilometre compared to Melbourne which only had one grid cell exceeding 8,000 people per square kilometre, around the suburb of Carlton. Sydney also had larger and more widely spread areas of the second highest density class with 93kmē of between 5,000 and 8,000 people per square kilometre, while Melbourne had 33kmē in the same range. Brisbane was the only other capital city to register in these higher density categories with 3kmē between 5,000 and 8,000 people per square kilometre.


Figure 3. Population Density 1kmē Grid August 2011 - Melbourne and Sydney

Figure 3, A comparison map of Melbourne and Sydney , showing the population density grid at one square kilomtre grid cells.

Table 1 shows the area within each Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA) under 6 population density classes, from no population to very high. These areas are calculated from the Population Grid and the classes are based on the ranges used in Figures 2 and 3. The Brisbane GCCSA had the largest area of very low population density (less than 500 people per square kilometre) at 9,275kmē in 2011. This highlights the spread of low density population around Brisbane and also the relatively large extent of the Brisbane GCCSA when compared with other capital cities.


Table 1: Total area in six population density classes in Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (kmē).


No population
Very low
Low
Medium
High
Very High
(0)*
(Less than 500)*
(500-2000)*
(2000-5000)*
(5000-8000)*
(More than 8000)*

Sydney
6562
4013
890
785
93
21
Melbourne
2742
5376
1013
837
33
1
Brisbane
5459
9275
777
324
3
0
Adelaide
232
2345
441
233
0
0
Perth
2500
2913
711
292
0
0
Hobart
456
1108
120
11
0
0
Darwin
2203
908
48
14
0
0
Canberra
1845
276
206
33
0
0

* people per square kilometre
These population density classes have been used for analysis purposes only and are not an ABS standard classification


Figure 4 presents the maximum population density found in each of the Australian capital cities in 2011. Sydney and Melbourne clearly had the highest densities, both exceeding 10,000 people per square kilometre in the most densely populated areas. Brisbane had the next highest density at 6,216 people per square kilometre. Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart had comparable maximum population densities around 3,000 people per square kilometre. Darwin had the lowest value with a maximum density of 2,620 people per square kilometre.

Figure 4. Maximum population density for Australian capital cities August 2011

Graph Image for maximum population density by capital

Footnote(s): The 2011 ASGS (GCCSA) were used as capital city boundaries

Source(s): maximum population density by capital-Australian Population Grid 2011


The 1kmē resolution of the grid matches a European population grid for 2011 produced by Eurostat, a Directorate-General of the European Commission. This common resolution enables consistent and equal comparisons between regions and cities in Australia and Europe. Figure 5 compares the population grids for Sydney, Australia and London, England. London had significantly higher population density over a much larger area compared to Sydney. London had a maximum population density of 20,477 people per square kilometre in 2011.

Figure 5. Population Density 1kmē Grid 2011 - Sydney and London

Figure 5, A comparison map of Sydney and London showing the Australian and Eurostat population grid on grid cells of one square kilomtre.




Some of the advantages the grid format provides are:

    · it enables accurate comparison with other countries using grid based measures of population and population density;

    · it offers greater spatial accuracy in rural regions where traditional geographies are very large; and

    · it enables accurate and efficient integration of population data with other data traditionally produced in grid format such as environmental datasets.


The grid files in GeoTIFF format and ESRI Grid format are for use in a Geographic Information System (GIS) and are located in the 'Downloads' tab of this publication. These GIS files are aligned to the National Nested Grid (NNG) standard for Australia.

The PNG file is also available in the 'Downloads' tab of this publication.